The year 2014 was probably both my most bestest and my most typicalest dieting year in recent memory. My weight began the year at the usual post-holiday high. It then went up from there, for whatever reason (certainly not because I was eating too much and never exercising). But then, nearly halfway though what was shaping up into a terrible year, The Switch flipped on. That’s when things started happening:
You can see three distinct drops: one in June, another in July and a nice long one between October and November. I wasn’t operating on any secret. I don’t have any tips for you now. All I know is that The Switch was on. And when The Switch is on, nothing can stop me:
“What’s that, a big plate of donuts? No thanks! The Switch is on!”
“Is that an all you can eat pizza buffet? Sorry, man but The Switch is on!”
“You’ll give me ten million dollars to eat that entire jar of peanut butter? Get away, you! We don’t want any of that here!”
Sure, there were some plateaus in there. And (stupidly) at each plateau I thought, “Well, it was nice while it lasted,” and figured things were over. But for whatever mysterious and inexplicable reason, The Switch never went off, and after a brief pause, the weight continued to come off.
Total net loss between the highest point and the lowest point: 22 pounds.
Of course, the astute reader will immediately notice a slight problem on the right side of the graph. Seems like something happened during December. Well, that “something” was “Chex Mix” and because of it, I threw away the results of the most bestest year in recent memory.
Total net loss between January 1st and December 31st? 1.5 pounds.
A New Hope
“Don’t be sad, Charlie Brown! Today is December 31, 2014 which means one thing: tomorrow begins a New Year! Wipe the slate and start over. I know 2015 will be a great year!”
Fast forward to October. My net loss for this year is now -1 pounds. Yep, I spent the last ten months gaining one whole pound. My problem? Eating. Like, a lot. Like, I’ve lost all control.
On the upside, I haven’t gained twenty, thirty, or a hundred pounds. And I know most people will see the phrases “eating a lot” and “only gained one pound” as some sort of monumental success program to be immediately commercialized. But I should clarify: all the eating is coming in at night. My typical day is:
- Breakfast: 0 calories
- Lunch: 200 calories
- Dinner: 300 calories
- Evening: 2000 calories
So, sure, 2500 calories a day is FAR better than the usual see-food diet. And that is what’s kept me flatlined all year in spite of everything. But it’s also really, really wrong.
What to Do?
For much of September and into early October I started thinking, “Man, all I need is some kind of appetite suppressant! That was the real magic of 2014: I was perfectly content back then with my zero calorie breakfast, 200 calorie lunch, and 300 calorie dinner.” And for much of September and early October, I saw my “flat” year slowly inching up: one pound, three pounds, six pounds.
Then on October 10, it happened.
I stepped on the scale. I hit my top weight of the year. Worse, it was only two pounds below my Line of Death. Most long-time readers of my blog know that the first few years here were completely dedicated to a quest named “Return to Onederland.” Meaning, I was tired of my weight beginning with a “2” and I wanted it to start with a “1” again. Once I achieved that goal, I swore I would NEVER EVER GO BACK.
The border of Onederland, however, is not the Line of Death. The Line of Death is 190. That’s that ten pound buffer zone that keeps me safely in Onederland. If you wait until 199.5 to “do something,” it’s too late.
Remember: I made it to Onederland and stayed in Onederland using the most effective diet ever: cancer. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to achieve my weight loss goal by enduring six months of chemotherapy only to throw it away on mindless late-night snacking.
I’ve watched myself gain one pound, three pounds, six pounds before. I’ve been down that road. I know exactly where it goes. And I will NOT go there again.
I found the appetite suppressant I needed: fear. Suddenly, faced with the very real prospect of undoing three years of once-in-a-lifetime progress, those late-night snacks suddenly didn’t look as appealing to me.
In four days I dropped three pounds, and the Line of Death was now a more comfortable five pounds away. Whew! That was a close one! If I could keep this up (heck, WHEN I keep this up) I might just get back to where I was a year ago. Wouldn’t that be swell?!
A Happy Ending?
Nope. My good run stopped exactly at that aforementioned four day mark. The Fear was short-lived and I fall back to the old patterns. And on Tuesday this week, December 8, I looked down at that number between my toes and put on my best Charlie Brown sigh:
I was sad but not surprised. After all, I’ve been down this road before.
Tune in next
week year when we step back and look at the big picture.